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JMIRx med. 2021 May 7; 2 (2) :e25703
Mobile App-Reported Use of Traditional Medicine for Maintenance of Health in India During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross-sectional Questionnaire Study

Abstract Background: India follows a pluralistic system for strategic and focused health care delivery in which traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, and homoeopathy (AYUSH) coexist with contemporary medicine, and this system functions under the Ministry of AYUSH (MoA). The MoA developed a mobile app, called AYUSH Sanjivani, to document the trends of the use of AYUSH-based traditional and holistic measures by the public across India. Analysis of the data generated through this app can help monitor the extent of the use of AYUSH measures for maintenance of health during the COVID-19 pandemic and aid effective health promotion and communication efforts focused on targeted health care delivery during the pandemic. Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the extent of use of AYUSH measures by the public in India for maintenance of health during the COVID-19 pandemic as reported through the AYUSH Sanjivani mobile app. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of the data generated through the Ayush Sanjivani app from May 4 to July 31, 2020, was performed to study the pattern and extent of the use of AYUSH-based measures by the Indian population. The responses of the respondents in terms of demographic profile, use pattern, and benefits obtained; the association between the use of AYUSH-based measures and symptomatic status; and the association between the duration of use of AYUSH-based measures and the outcome of COVID-19 testing were evaluated based on bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results: Data from 723,459 respondents were used for the analysis, among whom 616,295 (85.2%) reported that they had been using AYUSH measures for maintenance of health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these 616,295 users, 553,801 (89.8%) either strongly or moderately agreed to have benefitted from AYUSH measures. Ayurveda and homeopathic measures and interventions were the most preferred by the respondents across India. Among the 359,785 AYUSH users who described their overall improvement in general health, 144,927 (40.3%) rated it as good, 30,848 (8.6%) as moderate, and 133,046 (40.3%) as slight. Respondents who had been using AYUSH measures for less than 30 days were more likely to be COVID-19-positive among those who were tested (odds ratio 1.52, 95% CI 1.44-1.60). The odds of nonusers of AYUSH measures being symptomatic if they tested positive were greater than those of AYUSH users (odds ratio 4.01, 95% CI 3.61-4.59). Conclusions: The findings of this cross-sectional analysis assert that a large proportion of the representative population practiced AYUSH measures across different geographic locations of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and benefitted considerably in terms of general well-being, with a possible impact on their quality of life and specific domains of health. Keywords: AYUSH Sanjivani app; Ayurveda; COVID-19; Siddha; Unani; homeopathy; traditional medicine.

DHARA ID: D058261 Pubmed ID: 34032815

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